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Ball State students interview David Letterman to tell Ball State’s centennial story

On February 15, a group of seven students from Ball State University went to New York City to interview David Letterman. The students have been working on a project about Ball State’s centennial year and have been producing the project since the summer of 2017. The project consists of a full-length documentary that covers the history of Ball State University, a shorter documentary focused on current university affairs, and five short promotional videos. The production team has interviewed professors, students, historians, Muncie locals, and alumni in order to tell the story of Ball State’s 100 years.

The students reached out to prominent BSU alumnus, David Letterman, for the opportunity to interview him. “We got in contact with him through the President’s office,” Director John Osterhoudt told Byte reporters, “and then we heard back literally like two weeks ago and he was like, ‘Yeah, come to New York.’” The students drove to Letterman’s publicist’s office in Manhattan to conduct the interview.

One of the Directors of Photography, Amy Frye, called the project, “…really rewarding. I learned a lot about the equipment Ball State has and about my craft a lot, by the amount of shooting we actually did.” Frye was a part of the seven students chosen to go to New York to interview Letterman. “Interviewing David Letterman was a really fun experience,” Frye says, “because he’s a very normal man. You know, he’s like someone’s grandpa.” Osterhoudt called Letterman, “… a really nice guy, and it was cool to see that from someone so famous, because you don’t exactly know what to expect.”

The crew shared a special moment with Lettermen during the interview process, with Osterhoudt holding a full 15-minute conversation with the former host of The Late Show off camera about current events and politics. 

Both Osterhoudt and Frye have been a part of the Centennial Project since the beginning of production, and are excited to see it come to fruition. The project encompasses both the history and hopes of Ball State University. According to Frye, “The whole project takes us from our past and where we came from, the good parts and the not-so-good parts, and then is taking us all the way to the future.”

The project is slated to premiere in the Fall of 2018.

Photography: Allison Griffith